Is The Workplace Getting More Dangerous?
Workplace fatalities are increasing across the country.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who is responsible for enforcing workplace safety standards, has been facing severe staffing shortages, that undermines its ability to inspect and enforce safety standards in the workplace.
A recently published report says OSHA has approximately 875 health and safety inspectors to cover the 9 million workplaces in its jurisdiction. For context, if OSHA’s inspectors were to visit every workplace in their jurisdiction, it would take them about 158 years to complete.
For the workplace fatalities and injuries that they do happen to investigate, there is only a fine of about $7,500 when the employer is found to have been negligent. While the average cost of a funeral is about $8,700.
As was the case with Jill Greninger, who fell into a meat grinder at work and died. She was working at a plant in Pennsdale, Pennsylvania. Her co-workers were not aware of her accident until they started hearing “strange noises” coming from the meat grinder. Fire and emergency personnel had to work over 45 minutes to completely disassemble and take apart the meat grinder in the effort to retrieve Greninger’s body.
It is still unclear how she ended up in the meat grinder. She either fell or was drawn into the machine. The investigation concluded that she may have been standing on a rolling staircase when she fell to her death. It will take OSHA approximately 6 months to investigate the cause of her workplace fatality.
There has been an uptick in workplace fatalities across the country, particularly with Latinx, immigrant, and contract workers, and OSHA doesn’t have the manpower to properly investigate and enforce workplace safety standards.
A dozen employers are on a Council for Occupational Safety and Health list called “The dirty dozen” which sites workplace negligence.
There are disturbing details encompassing the various employers and their negligence.
Stories such as a man who was fatally pulled into a tire shredder while working. Another is the workplace fatality about a construction worker who fell into a trench and was smothered to death. Even mega-corporations like Amazon and Facebook have been investigated due to workplace negligence and poor safety standards for their employees.
Osha’s lack of personnel and resources certainly contribute to the lack of safety standards and an increase in workplace fatalities across the US.
How can workplace safety be upheld to the proper standards?
Do you know what to do in the event of an accident while at work?